Alcohol and Drug Use in Childhood
We know that the problem of impaired driving is part of a growing problem of substance abuse amongst youth and that alcohol consumption begins at a very early age. Studies show us that young people who drink alcohol before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependency than those who wait until 21.
In 2003, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Ontario Student Drug Use Survey found that the use of alcohol and cannabis starts as early as age 11. MADD Canada’s program is designed to educate youth about the risk of harm associated with alcohol and drug use and help them form beliefs and opinions about alcohol and drugs as well as impaired driving before they are faced with peer pressure.
Youth education is a critical part of MADD Canada’s strategy to preventing impaired driving. We understand that the long-term solution to the problem of impaired driving is to get our message out while youth are forming beliefs and patterns of behaviour. Your support of this program will encourage a life-long habit of responsible and safe behaviour.
Brain Power is the title of MADD Canada’s elementary school program geared to students in grades 4-6.
In Brain Power, children will learn about their brains, how they develop and why they are so important. Children will see that to have a great life they need to develop their brain in a healthy way and protect it from harm. They’ll learn what impairment means and then experience it through children in the video who wear special vision goggles that emulate alcohol impairment. These children will talk about what it felt like and asked how they now feel about drinking and driving. A police officer will explain what signs police use to recognize impaired drivers. The host will encourage children to trust their instincts and do what is right instead of giving in to their peers.
They will be encouraged to avoid alcohol and drugs. To emphasize the danger, two young real-life victims are introduced who talk about how impaired driving affected their lives. The first had his two best friends killed and the second victim’s mother was killed while jogging – both crashes caused by impaired drivers.
This classroom DVD should be used with the Educators’ Activity Guide.
Changing Youth Behaviour and Promoting Positive Values
Interviews include one with Dr. Jean Clinton, an expert on brain development, who talks about the differences between the brain when you were born and the brain you have developed. She emphasizes the importance of staying away from alcohol and drugs to keep their brains healthy. Cartoons are interspersed throughout the interview to illustrate her points.
Dr. Charles Tator, a neurosurgeon from the Think First Foundation, performs the “melon drop” and demonstrates the importance of wearing a helmet, and the risks associated with brain injuries.
Reality is that children who see the video may have parents or people they trust who drink and drive. The video gives some tips on how to avoid getting into a car with an impaired driver and empower them to speak about their fears with someone they trust.
Powerful Story Shows that Alcohol Mixed with Cars are a Deadly Cocktail
To emphasize the danger of impaired driving, two young real-life victims are introduced who talk about how impaired driving affected their lives. The first had his two best friends killed and the second victim’s mother was killed while jogging – both crashes caused by impaired drivers.
Peer Pressure, Risk Taking and Healthy Attitudes
There’s an inspirational interview with the Canadian hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser. She’s won 5 Olympic medals playing women’s’ hockey for Team Canada, including 4 Olympic Gold medals. Brianne St-Onge tells how she suspected that her bus driver was impaired. She told him to pull over and called the police. The bus driver was arrested.
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